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Scientists discover a new auroral feature on Jupiter

The SwRI-led Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) orbiting Jupiter aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft has detected new faint aurora features, characterized by ring-like emissions, which expand rapidly over time. SwRI scientists determined ...

Astronomers discover four new 'hot Jupiters'

An international team of astronomers has detected four new "hot Jupiter" exoplanets as part of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS). The newly found alien worlds are at least 10% larger than Jupiter but less massive ...

Comet makes a pit stop near Jupiter's asteroids

After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ...

Jupiter's Trojan asteroids offer surprises

A new study out this month suggests that Jupiter's Trojan asteroids may be more peculiar than previously thought. The Trojan asteroids are rocky objects which orbit the sun just ahead of and just behind the gas giant, in ...

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Jupiter

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass slightly less than one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times more massive than all of the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Together, these four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian planets.

The planet was known by astronomers of ancient times and was associated with the mythology and religious beliefs of many cultures. The Romans named the planet after the Roman god Jupiter. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter can reach an apparent magnitude of −2.8, making it on average the third-brightest object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus. (Mars can briefly exceed Jupiter's brightness at certain points in its orbit.)

Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium; it may also have a rocky core of heavier elements. Because of its rapid rotation, Jupiter's shape is that of an oblate spheroid (it possesses a slight but noticeable bulge around the equator). The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence and storms along their interacting boundaries. A prominent result is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm that is known to have existed since at least the 17th century when it was first seen by telescope. Surrounding the planet is a faint planetary ring system and a powerful magnetosphere. There are also at least 63 moons, including the four large moons called the Galilean moons that were first discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these moons, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.

Jupiter has been explored on several occasions by robotic spacecraft, most notably during the early Pioneer and Voyager flyby missions and later by the Galileo orbiter. The most recent probe to visit Jupiter was the Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft in late February 2007. The probe used the gravity from Jupiter to increase its speed and adjust its trajectory toward Pluto, thereby saving years of travel. Future targets for exploration in the Jovian system include the possible ice-covered liquid ocean on the moon Europa.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA